Television host Helen Kapalos shares her story of how vague symptoms turned into something more sinister – and why all women need to be vigilant about their health.

Television host Helen Kapalos shares her story of how vague symptoms turned into something more sinister – and why all women need to be vigilant about their health.

Determined to get to the truth, she pushed for more tests. None gave an answer; they simply eliminated possible causes.

At this point, her best friend took her aside. Having had ovarian cancer, she was concerned that Kapalos’s symptoms were a sign of something similar. A scan was quickly arranged. “I was lying there, watching it all on the screen,” Kapalos, 42, says. “They identified it straight away and said, ‘Wow. This is a really large tumour.’ The first thing I thought is that this is Mum’s story. But this time, I want it to have a different ending.”

Until now, Kapalos has not spoken in detail about her experience. A private person, she was motivated to go public partly to encourage awareness of ovarian cancer, but also because of the death of her mother, Joanna, from cancer. Joanna’s symptoms were also initially dismissed by doctors, and she did not get the life-saving surgery she needed.

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“I’ve decided to talk about this because I don’t want to see people going through what Mum went through,” she says. “But this is not about being alarmist, nor am I a ‘victim’. This is about women being proactive and positive about their health.”

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